While menopause itself is a normal life stage that does not cause health problems, the menopausal transition is marked b a statistically increased risk in breast cancer, osteoporoses, heart disease, arthritis, and depression. During perimenopause many women experience notable changes such as mood swings, insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, decreased libido and fatique. These changes are marked by an uneven decline in various hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testostereone, thus creating a need for finding a homeostasis. Inna Zelikman, NP can help each woman achieve the hormone balance through a customized approach depending on her symptoms and hormone levels
An Evolutionary Perspective on Menopause
Evolutionary biologists classify theories of menopause as either: adaptive, suggesting that female reproductive cessation results from its selective advantage, in that the increased risk of personal reproduction late in life makes it biologically more advantageous to rechannel reproductive energy into helping existing descendents, or nonadaptive, indicating menopause is an artifact of the relatively recent dramatic increase in human longevity.
The nonadaptive theory of menopause argues that there never was an adaptive benefit to menopause. Its chief assumption is that human females are designed to reproduce for about as long as they were likely to live during most of their evolutionary history. Menopause is thus an artifact created by the relatively sudden lengthening of human life over the past several centuries due to improved nutrition and hygiene, plus the availability of effective medical services. Menopause under this scenario is similar to the situation in which wild animals, sheltered and coddled in zoos, routinely outlive their reproductive cessation, but, like generalized aging, reflects the uncontrolled degenerative processes typical of organisms which have outlived the span of time they were designed to survive.
In addition, the lifestyle that we adopted is far from Paleolithic way of life. People have later first pregnancies, earlier menarche and later menopause. Our diet is modified, less exercise, artificial lighting, and our sleep cycle is more socially adopted. These changes set us up for degenerative diseases, cancers, heart problems, autoimmune illnesses or ect. The development of these illnesses is further complicated by a state of sudden estrogen withdrawal.
The only other time in her life when a woman naturally experiences hypoestrogenic state is during postpartum period. After delivery of the placenta, the mother’s sex steroids rapidly plummet and the physical appearance of women during the puerperium bears a remarkable resemblance to findings following the menopause: vaginal dryness, vasomotor instability, cognitive and sleep disturbances, bone mobilization and ect. This state is absolutely critical because mammals are committed to the survival of their offspring. So we can see the same state that is adaptive in postpartum seems nonadaptive in menopause.
Conclusion: As women increasingly live longer, they need to be able to adapt evolutionary responses powerful enough to counteract the effect of hypogonadism in menopause. Having access to hormones to maintain their vitality with proper nutrition and exercise could be a powerful defense against development of age related diseases.